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Tradition, ritual, family: Devkare ceremony in Calapur, Goa- July 28, 2012

A day before any major life event, there is the Devkare. Today, we appeased the Gods a day ahead of Arnav’s Upanayan ceremony. Arnav is my cousin brother Ashish’s son. Ashooda has the clear distinction of being my favourite brother, sans competition. Arnav therefore had a special place in my heart. That he is only a year older than Udai and we have been fortunate enough to have spend time with each other as family despite living a few continents apart, is our good fortune. It is truly delightful to see the kids play and spar together. We relive our childhood experiences through them, those good old summers when we all visited each other, teased, laughed, cried together (i did a lot of the crying) and drove the parents crazy!
Anyway, there were many special aspects to today’s Devkare. It was held on the top floor of the family home in Calapur. A space we all remember well, but one that has fallen out of use. Being together in that old huge house has a special significance for family members. Besides the nostalgia, we are all aware that there are these few precious occasions remaining that still continue to bring us all together. Soon, it shall become harder for us to organise ourselves to come together like this from different parts of the world. The old home shall, eventually and inevitably, crumble. And along with it an entire era.
I was particularly happy to see Ajjee so excited. Nearing on a 100 years in age, my grandmother is truly remarkable. She admitted to feeling very fortunate to be able to see her great grandson take an important next step in his life. She handmade sheviyo (a type of noodle) that was used in today’s payas (sweet preparation). As well as badiyo (small balls of lentils cooked and dried) that were added to one of the vegetable preparations. Despite being very tired, she watched most rituals and interacted with everyone who came. Remarkable what love and will power can do. I must appreciate the important role traditions and rituals play in making the elderly feel relevant, making their guidance necessary and appreciated by us, who otherwise think we know it all!
Aadyaa and Udai, who have been to this home several times in the past few years, each time for a family ritual, are now comfortable with their cousins, the spaces and the general manner of conducting ourselves with family members. Today, Udai dutifully played the role of dhedo (companion) to Arnav and sat through all the rituals Very seriously Despite not speaking Konkani, the kids seem to have made themselves at home. I now have to keep the tempo of interaction going!
Tomorrow is the moonz (Konkani for Upanayan) when Arnav gets his sacred thread and symbolically adopts Brahminhood. Much buzzing activity, planning and organising has gone into this. I am excited to see what it entails. And of course, meet more people!




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